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Family and dog on the couch

5 Tips to Dating a Cuban – You’ve been Warned!

Let me guess. You went to Cuba for a long weekend and met a seemingly mysterious and charming local at Fabrica del Arte or at some other paladar in with live music. One kiss and exchange of social media handles later and you’re officially in a relationship. Welcome to Dating a Cuban.

Cubans are notorious for their charm and their confidence to show you it.  We don’t blame you for falling in lust in a weekend. No one does, not even Camila Caballo in her famous “Havana” hit song.

But, I hate to break it to you, you aren’t alone.

If I had a dollar every time someone messaged me (on Instagram) a version of that story, I could buy an overly priced motorcycle already on this damn island.

Dating a cuban and the love culture in general here is hard to explain and even more complicated to understand. Though, anyone who’s spent significant time here knows what I’m talking about.

In some unspoken language, we all do. We all know what’s happening and we all keep our mouths shut. I mean, after all, it isn’t our business. But I’m willing to share a few observations I’ve learned over the years.

So before you recharge a cell-phone or send any money through Western Union, let me try my best to describe and give you some tips on how things work here on the island of lust.

And by no means is this a blanket explanation of every Cuban-foreign relationship. I myself would be a hypocrite to state that, as I am a Cuban-American engaged to a Cuban-Russian born (its complicated…).

So no, this does not apply to everyone. But it does, indeed, apply.

Two cuban women in traditional wear kiss a foreigner on the cheek.
The Warm Up!

1. Cuba’s Bad Economy Creates Avenues of Desperation

First things first: Cuba’s economy. It’s no surprise to anyone that Cuba isn’t exactly experiencing its “Golden” age.

With wages low and opportunities even lower, for many the Cuban dream no longer is a dream inside the country.

Cubans look north. They look south. East and west. Just about anywhere but Cuba for their dreams for a better future.

It’s something everyone here seems to have in common. It unites the country in some bizarre melancholy way and everyone talks about it. It’s the social glue that bonds us all together.  

And because of this, Cubans have tried various different methods to leave the island or make their situation on it much more comfortable.

That’s where you come in.

2. Dating a Cuban 101: Jineteros

Text Jineteros en Cuba a cuban man and foreign woman on a balcony. Faces covered.
Cuban Jintereos : Dating a Cuban

To the seemingly naïve foreigner, many don’t know what a “Jinetero” is. Though, in Cuban culture, ‘jinetero” is a term we grow up with.

Jineteros or Jineteras in the simpliest form are hustlers in any way but most known for being in the sex industry. Whether for a day, a week, or for an entire relationship.

Yes, I said it- an entire relationship.

We have met some jineteros that will fake being in love to continue an ongoing relationship with a foreigner. It’s a sad truth, but it does happen. They will have their own families on the island and when the foreigner comes, their partner vacates the home and the rest of the family plays along.  They work together for the week.

Of course, like I said not every relationship is this way but if you expect to be dating a Cuban you will absolutely have to know what a jinetero is.

3. It will Be an Expensive Relationship

Expect to pay…. For everything.  Unfortunately, few Cubans have the money to take their partners on a proper date to wine and dine them.  That shit doesn’t happen here. 

If you’re used to your partners taking you different places and having them pay or sharing costs, this will definitely test you.

Because besides the costs of going out to dinner and dates, you will have to get to Cuba and most likely gift them things they and their family needs. Oh yes, the. Family is always included in Cuba. Always.

The real costs are maintaining the relationship.  Want to call Cuba? EXPENSIVE AF

Want to talk to them on the internet? EXPENSIVE AF

Want them to leave the country with you to start your life together? SUPER SUPER SUPER EXPENSIVE AFFF FOR YEARS.

But if they are worth it, then you won’t care. Here are some apps you’ll need in Cuba.

Man and Woman chatting on a videocall. Dating in Cuba
Yoel and I chatting on FaceBook Messenger

4. Cubans Cheat… A Lot

I know this is particularly hard and uncomfortable point to write, but they likelihood of your Cuban cheating on you while you’re not in Cuba is enormous.  Whether you’re okay with it or not, its really apart of the culture.

And weirdly because its so prevalent its still taboo to talk about.  Its like we all know its happening but pretending its not.

Ojos que no ven, Corazon que no siente (Eyes that do not see, heart that does not feel).

Really though: Cubans cheat and they do often.

When there’s nothing to do all day and the culture very open with sex in general, the field is wide open. Plus its also very hard to find out what you’re partner is doing inside the low connected island all day.

I recommend having an honest talk with yourself and your partner about what you expect and your values.

5. Dating a Cuban = Moving Incredibly Fast

I’m laughing writing this point up but here’s a typical storyline:

  • Day 1: You meet and have fun
  • Day 2: You Meet the Family
  • Day 3: The Proposal

Ok that’s a bit of an exaggeration, but true. Cubans date insanely fast compared to foreigners.

For example, foreigners take months to decide if they are actually in a relationship or not, Cubans are moved into their in-laws in a month, have a ring, and call each other “maridos (husband/wife). 

I’m serious.

In conclusion, don’t be weirded out (and I am warning you) If you get proposed to on your 3rd or 4th visit and already having their mom calling you her son or daughter in law.

If you think its going too fast, just try to explain to your partner how things are a bit faster than what you are used to. Don’t feel pressured into things if your gut is telling you something else.

Boys in a cuban neighborhood
Your new family isn’t just you in-laws… its the entire neighborhood too.

Overall:

If you’re traveling to Cuba as a female solo or in a group, please please read my tips on female travel in Cuba. In short, Cuba is a fun and extremely safe place for females. You’ll just get lots of catcalls! 🙂

Catching a Cuban eye is very very (extremely) easy to do, but knowing what to expect is hard.  They will charm the shit out of you but you have to be careful who really has good intentions, as in any relationship, with anyone, from anywhere.

Many Cuban-Foreign relationships are very beautiful and we know many long -lasting ones so of course take this blog with just precaution.

All I ask is that if he or she is constantly asking for money or material items to do a hard look. I advise strongly against be sending large amounts of money on the regular to your Cuban boo.

In other words, have fun and be safe!

If you need help planning, as always let us know!